What Should I Eat If I Have Type 2 Diabetes?
From the first moment when getting the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes all can be overwhelming and daunting.
Likely we will need to face an endless list of tasks such as eating a balanced and healthy diet, medical appointments, being more active, taking medication and quit smoking.
And the first question that comes to our mind is ‘What can I eat?’. At first for sure we are confused and not know much, but do not panic that is normal. After we deal with the diagnoses, we need to learn more about the type of diabetes.
Why? Because there are are some basic things we need to know. Also, we need to be aware of the fact that there are many myths about food and diabetes.
If someone is one of the many that just got their diagnoses, stay calm and learn here everything about diabetes and eating.
The Famous Question – What Can I Eat?
Here we will give the answer. The answer might surprise you because it is quite simple, we can eat everything. We are probably all surprised, but yes all types of foods are good to eat for people that have diabetes type 2.
As a matter of fact in the past, after their diagnosis people were usually given a list of forbidden foods or were told to avoid sugar. Nowadays, all we need to do is maintain and eat a balanced and healthy diet.
You can make changes when it comes to our choices of food that are achievable and realistic in the long term. This differs from one individual to other with type 2 diabetes and depends on the current diet the individual has and goals he/she needs to achieve.
A lot of people that have type 2 diabetes make certain changes in their usual diet to achieve:
- good blood pressure
- a healthy weight
- good control of blood glucose
- good blood fat levels
According to evidence, our diet can affect all things above mentioned. You can consult a registered dietitian for advice and special eating plan that will be tailored according to your needs.
The Second Famous Question – ‘What Should I Avoid?’
Avoid fruit juices and sugary drinks. They are responsible for the rise of blood glucose levels, in fact, they can put them high very quickly and also in the long term people can gain weight.
Instead of the sugary and fruit drinks, we can drink diet soft drinks and water. In our diet, we can include tea or coffee. Drink regular coffee, avoid those with cream.
In addition, avoid foods that are labeled ‘suitable for diabetics’ and ‘diabetic.’ These foods can affect blood glucose levels since they have similar amounts of fat and calories.
Moreover, they have a laxative effect and are more expensive. The safe thing to do is to stick to the usual foods we had. For an occasional treat, simply opt for a usual and normal treat, but watch the portions.
Here’s What We Can Consume For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
We already know that having diabetes not necessarily mean that we need to quit our usual and favorite foods, however, it is vital that we make healthier choices on a regular basis.
Here are some suggestions for the 3 main and important meals of the day.
- fruit and a yogurt that is fat-free
- one bowl of cereal with milk that is semi-skimmed
- Two medium-size slices of whole-grain toast with jam
- small pasta salad
- ham or chicken salad sandwich
- soup and fruit
- rice and curry
- salad and lasagne
- noodles and salmon
- roast chicken with vegetables and potatoes
- salad and chicken tortillas
- beef stir-fry, rice, and vegetables
Once we take a closer look at all ideas, we will notice that they are not very different from what we already consume. Also, we will be aware that our favorite meals and recipes can be easily adapted to be healthier without a huge difference in taste.
Such easy changes are:
- to reduce the portion sizes
- to reduce the salt, fat and sugar content of food
- include more vegetables and fruits
Making these changes can help, however, do not go over the top and change everything right after the diabetes diagnosis simply because you will find it difficult to stay focused in the long run.
Usually, people do not need snacks between meals unless they take medications for their type of diabetes. In case they treat diabetes with a particular medication, there is a risk of low blood glucose, i.e. hypos, and they might need to snack.
Consult your doctor in order to prevent hypos. Regular snacks will make things difficult when it comes to diabetes management and maintaining a healthy weight.
The healthiest choice of snack is fat-free yogurt, a piece of fruit and rice cakes.
Keep a Food Diary
According to a recent study, it is good to keep a food diary to lose weight. People that kept a food diary actually lost twice as much weight in comparison to those people who did not have a food diary.
This might seem a little silly, but it actually works. How? Well, a written record can help people find out which are their problem areas, for example, their morning latte or maybe their evening snack.
These are the actual places where they might be getting more calories than they are aware of. In addition, it helps to increase their awareness of how much they consume and in that way they can reduce mindless snacking.
A recommendation in the Long Term
A balanced and healthy diet means that we need to consume plenty of vegetables and fruits and eat regular meals. Also, we need to eat less salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
Maintaining and following a balanced and healthy diet can aid control the blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood fats and will help us to have a healthy weight.
With this, we will reduce the risk of diabetes complications such as stroke and heart disease. Reduce portions to manage the glucose levels. The biggest effect on the blood sugar levels can have the number of carbs we consume.
It is essential to make better choices when it comes to carbs like dairy foods, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, and fruits. In case we have some extra pounds, we should consider reducing our portions sizes, and with that, we will lose weight.
Losing weight can help us to better manage the cholesterol level, blood glucose and also blood pressure. Make realistic and gradual changes, and in that way, we have a greater chance of success.
Get all the necessary tools to achieve that – right information from structured education, the backing of your friends and family, and support from a registered dietitian.
Just breathe, now it may feel overwhelming, but in time it will get easier. Keep your head up and remember you are stronger than diabetes.